Road map devised to reduce suicide

Road map devised to reduce suicide


ACTIONS to significantly reduce suicide form a major part of the state's newly released Mental Health Services Plan.


ACTIONS to significantly reduce suicide form a major part of the state's newly released Mental Health Services Plan.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wade said the plan, prepared by the Chief Psychiatrist and the SA Mental Health Commissioner, provided a roadmap to build on what has been working well and re-shape how services are accessed and delivered in future.

"It places an emphasis on supporting better outcomes for consumers, carers and staff, and providing South Australians with mental health services that are effective, safe, and accessible," he said.

Mr Wade said the state and federal governments had invested about $100 million towards the new initiatives and mental health services in SA.

"A key part of the plan is the Towards Zero Suicide Initiative which aims to significantly reduce mortality by suicide in our specialty services," he said.

"Many South Australians have been impacted by suicide and we are committed to preventing suicide in health and behavioural health care systems.

"The Plan demonstrates a strong commitment to Towards Zero Suicide, which encompasses a specific set of tools and strategies and includes targets of reduction of suicide deaths in speciality services within three years and five years.

"When similar Towards Zero Suicide programs have been implemented overseas, they were found to reduce mortality by 20 per cent to 30pc, and in some settings services are reporting reductions of 60pc or more."

Mr Wade said they would be trying to achieve reductions in SA through timely access to care, engagement, safety planning and follow up.

"Ensuring that people at increased risk of suicide don't fall through the gaps," he said.

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Mr Wade said a Towards Zero Suicide Clinical Practice Improvement strategy will be developed, with a training program to provide theory, quality improvement skills and practical skills for improved care.

Part of the plan will build on the existing 690,000 interactions with SA's mental health services each year, with a statewide Borderline Personality Disorder Service, and two initiatives based at the reactivated Repat Health Precinct - a Tier 7 Dementia Unit for Older Persons and Eating Disorders Centres.

Other initiatives outlined in the plan, which are already underway include establishment of a mental health urgent care centre, a rapid access older person's team for in-reach residential aged care facilities, additional forensic health beds, and a Forensic Court Diversion Service.

Chief Psychiatrist John Brayley said the plan provides a renewed vision for mental health services, with three key goals of personalised care, integration, and the safety and quality of services.

"During the development of the plan, we heard that the current mental health system is difficult to navigate, and that people don't always know where to go for help," he said.

"For this reason, there is a particular focus in the plan towards community alternatives focused on early intervention and prevention, reduced reliance upon hospital emergency services, improved access to non-drug therapies, and better reliability and integration of services.

"Importantly, the plan, consistent with international best practice, expects that the peer workforce (staff who have lived experienced of mental illness) have a core role in mental health service delivery, with clearly defined roles for peer workers as a part of community and hospital teams."

SA Mental Health Commissioner Chris Burns said a statewide approach is required for SA to become a leading provider of integrated mental health services.

"The plan builds on the extensive consultation undertaken in the development of the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017-2022, and provides a foundation for the commissioning and delivery of high-quality mental health care for South Australians," he said.

"There are a range of new initiatives proposed in this plan, which was developed following extensive consultation with mental health consumers, providers, clinicians, carers and other stakeholders.

"The emphasis on a well-trained peer workforce was a strong message we heard as part of consultations for the Strategic Plan and the Services Plan.

"A variety of mental health priority areas, such as youth mental health including Headspace, community walk-in services, and perinatal services, are also a key focus in the plan."

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